Coming to America
|Anders (Andrus) Andersson||Kajsa (Svanskog) Svensdotter||Anders Berg||Nils "Skog" Nilsson||Lisa "Eliza" Andreasdotter|
|John (Johannes) (Andersson) Backman||Mary (Lisa Maya) (Nilsdotter) Nelson|
|Fritjiof Fritz/Fred Backman|
John Backman - intent to become citizen. This shows that he entered the US at New York in June of 1870
John came first. He arrived at the port of New York around June of 1870, possibly traveling with two of his uncles. His Uncles, Olaf and Daniel Andersson, had children born in 1869 in Sweden and in 1871 or 1872 in Minnesota. So, they probably all come at the same time.
John's mother, step dad(Anders Berg), and the rest of the family came out in 1881.
First house on Backman homestead. According to Doris, at first they built this little house that later became just a storage shed. Poppa said that they slept on boards on the floor in the loft. The downstairs was two rooms – one that was Grandpa and Grandma's and any babies at that time and the other was the kitchen and eating place.
John Backman was born Johannes Andersson on 2 March 1852 (The Eksjo Cemetery book says he was born 2 April) at Snarkil, Sillerud Parish (near Årjäng) in Värmland according to the Goteborg Archives. He was the son of Anders Andersson from Tenvik (Sillerud) and Kajsa Svensdotter. Anders Andersson died 6 Dec. 1952 when Johannes was only nine months old. His mother, Kajsa Svensdotter, remarried to Anders Berg.
As Fritjiof related to Doris:
My parents came from Värmland, Sweden. My father came to Upper Michigan and from there -- one winter in St. Paul. And from there he worked on the NP (Northern Pacific) when they were laying railroad going West. They were as far as Brainard and, no doubt, he walked up to where some uncles lived west of Lake Park. Then he homesteaded in Eglon Township where he built the log home and the other farm buildings. And, of course, broke ground for fields and started farming. He was good at building log houses so he built log houses and barns for other people at the time.
Doris related additional information about John, his immigration and homesteading:
My dad told me that his father was only around 8 months old when his father (my great grandfather) died. Grandpa came to America with his cousins (probably uncles and cousins). My guess is that, because it was the 1870's (John came in 1870. The rest of the family that made the trip came in 1881) that they came. That was when they had all that turmoil between Sweden and Norway. The king of Sweden was being very ambitious to acquire other territory including things along the Baltic. They were having a lot of conscription. I guess it was similar to guys going to Canada recently because all young men were being conscripted. He (Doris's Grandpa John) went over to Norway. He had some relatives over there. Grandpa caught a ship to go to York in England. Went across and took another ship from Liverpool or someplace like that. My guess is that he came to either eastern Canada or to Boston.
Chris – do you know how old he would have been?
17. I heard Hulda telling one of the family that Grandpa, because he didn't have much money and I guess his step-father was on the ship (other notes say that his step-father came over in 1881), they had gotten provisions for them to take for meals while they were on the ship. The ship seemed to be becalmed at some point west of Greenland. Grandpa, when he got off the ship, was just as skinny as a rail because he hadn't been eating. There was some concern about his health. They were supposed to bring enough for themselves and there wasn't anything else that you could beg, borrow, or steal from anybody else. So, that is what his problem was. He just didn't have enough food. There were a lot of trains that left New York City and places on the Canadian coast to bring people over to the Midwest at that time. It was the lure of open land that brought most of those people.
Chris – So, did he know anybody in Minnesota?
Yes, he was coming with these cousins (and uncles). Somehow he had … I think it is on Poppa's tape … that there were some people with him that had been over before and had gone back to Sweden. My dad told me that they rode to the end of the train track. It was somewhere in south central Minnesota. Above that was just snow because they arrived in the winter. He told me that, luckily, they were going by this group of little houses, slogging away in this snow and a dog barked. They decided – well, let's find out what's going on there. It turned out that it was some people that he indirectly knew. They put them up a few days until they could go on north. They were going to a specific place up by Eksjo. Somebody had gone there before and said that there was land available. That was how Grandpa came. He was with an uncle. Then, of course, he wanted to get married and have a homestead. I'm sure that there must have been some correspondence with Sweden because, even though Grandma was quite a bit younger than Grandpa, they must have known each other or their families knew each other in Sillerud Parish. That's the parish that they joined. My dad said that there was quite a settlement there after a while. People from that part of Sweden had come. Anyway, they staked out claims there in Minnesota. He must have sent for Grandma because she came with her family to Michigan. He went over there and brought her back to Eksjo. They got married there and started that number of kids. Fritjiof was the only boy for a while. There were a series of girls and he had to wait until the little boys, Carl and Henry and August – that they were the little boys. He had to wait for them to get old enough to help Grandpa (the other boys were 10, 12, and 16 years younger than Fritjiof).
Chris – You think that your Grandpa and Grandma or at least their families knew each other so that he basically said ?I'm looking for a bride? and so is Mary old enough?
Chris – so he probably bought that from the government then?
Yes. All this open land was being sold off by the government.
Chris – Looking for pioneer stock to go in there so that the Canadians wouldn't come down to take it?
I guess, and of course it was not easy breaking ground. You know, they had to have some tools and equipment. Without much money, they shared a lot of this.
Chris – So the neighbors would get together
Some were better at hunting so they bartered.
Chris – What did they raise on this farm?
Because part of it was pretty primitive, they had cows for milk and cheese and butter and, eventually, some meat. They later planted vegetables, wheat, hay, and corn. Corn was not known in Europe. It was an American thing that the Indians had had. When you look at the prices for some of these things, they practically indentured themselves for years just to pay $12 on a seeder of some kind. I think in my things I have a promissory note that my grandfather did to buy this meadowlark brand seeder of some kind. I don't know if it was for corn or for hay. I think it was for only $12 or $16 and they were very afraid of prairie fires. You could insure your whole property – again for about $12 a year.
Chris – John (Johannes) (Andersson) Backman was born in 1852, was married in 1880. He was 28 and Mary Nelson (Nilsdotter) was 19 at the time that they got married. The marriage was January 18th of 1880 and Minnie was born October 23rd of 1880.
Kajsa and Anders Berg had five children (Anna, Gustav, Johanna, Maya Stina, and Sara Lisa) - all born in Sillerud Parish, Sweden. The family took the name Backman when they came to the US around 1881.
They came to Highland Grove Township (Becker Co.) and settled on 40 acres near the old N. P. Depot in Dale. There are no buildings left on the Anders Berg Place now.
Husband: John (Johannes) (Andersson) Backman
Born: 02 APR 1852 in Snarkil, Sillerud Parish, Värmland, Sweden
Wife: Mary (Lisa Maya) (Nilsdotter) Nelson
Born: 24 JAN 1861 in Rök Skogen, Sillerud Parish, Värmland, Sweden
01 (F): Augusta Wilhelmina (Minnie) Backman
02 (F): Ida Backman
03 (M): Fritjiof Fritz\Fred Backman
04 (F): Mathilda Backman
05 (F): Olga Backman
06 (F): Hulda Olivia Backman
07 (M): Carl J. Backman
08 (M): William Henry Backman
09 (M): John (Johan) August Backman